College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Iowa vs. Rutgers (Wednesday, Jan. 19)
Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images
- The Iowa Hawkeyes travel to New Jersey on Wednesday night to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Big Ten action.
- The Hawkeyes picked up a road win at Minnesota last time out, but the Scarlet Knights are always threats when playing in Piscataway.
- Check out Kyle Remillard's full betting breakdown and top pick for the game below.
Iowa vs. Rutgers Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Iowa travels to the infamous RAC to face off against a Rutgers team that is desperate for a marquee victory to keep its tournament hopes alive.
Rutgers is 10-6 on the season, but fell to some bad opponents early in the year, including to 310th-ranked Lafayette. The program has a resume-building win over Purdue, but will need a few more Quad 1 victories to help counteract the early struggles.
The Scarlet Knights are finally healthy and have won five of their last six games. They’ve been dominant at home this season and will lean on their home-court advantage in this matchup.
Iowa’s prominent offense has led it to a 13-4 start on the season. All four losses have come to top-30 opponents, but the Hawkeyes have beaten up on the rest of their competition.
Will home-court advantage be the deciding factor in this game?
Iowa nearly blew a 23-point lead over the weekend at Minnesota. The Hawkeyes led by three with 1:30 remaining before icing the game with a late 3-pointer.
Iowa lead dwindling, no one wants to take a shot. Keegan Murray grabs the ball and delivers the dagger pic.twitter.com/r2x4HiV5p2
— I Love Iowa Basketball (@ILoveIowaBball) January 16, 2022
Iowa’s offense ranks third in efficiency and scoring, as its averaging over 86 points per game. The group pushes the tempo and ranks seventh in average offensive possession length. The Hawkeyes rarely turn over the basketball and hit 54% of their shot attempts.
They have four scorers who put up double digits in points per game, but are led by Keegan Murray, who is scoring nearly 24 an evening. He’s been complimented by his twin brother, Kris, who is putting up 10 points per game while hitting 41% from behind the arc.
For as dominant as the Hawkeyes’ offense is, they sacrifice on the defensive end, where they rank 160th in efficiency. The group is weak in the paint, allowing opponents to hit 51% on 2-point attempts and to grab 31% of misses. Both of those rank outside the top 200 in the nation.
According to BartTorvik’s projections, Rutgers has a 13% chance to earn an at-large bid for the tournament. That means the Scarlet Knights are going to need to exceed expectations in conference play, and what better way to start than against a top-20 Iowa team.
The Scarlet Knights are led by Ron Harper Jr., who has been fantastic in conference matchups this season. Against Big Ten foes, Harper Jr. has averaged 20.3 points per game and has hit 65% of his 3-point attempts.
His play has a direct correlation to Rutgers’ success. Harper Jr. totaled 12 points on 3-for-18 shooting in the two double-digit losses to conference opponents.
In the Scarlet Knights’ four victories, he has averaged 28 points while hitting over 70% from beyond the arc, including the game-winner over Purdue.
RON HARPER JR. OH MY GOD 🤯
RUTGERS (+650 ML) UPSETS NO. 1 PURDUE AT THE BUZZER pic.twitter.com/iFgaobDEBE
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) December 10, 2021
Rutgers doesn’t have great depth, with the starting five seeing 71% of the floor minutes. But this is an experienced group that has built great chemistry with one another.
That’s proven, as Rutgers has assisted on 63% of its made field goals this season, which is top-10 nationally.
Rutgers will need to get back to its defensive roots in this game, as it matches up with an elite Iowa offense. Rutgers owned a top-20 defensive efficiency ranking the last two seasons, but sits outside the top 50 this year.
Iowa vs. Rutgers Betting Pick
Iowa is 10-1 when playing at home this season, winning by an average score of 93-69. But on the road, the group is just 2-3 while being outscored 76-71 in those games.
Now, the Hawkeyes must travel to one of the toughest places to play in the country.
Rutgers has dominated when playing at the RAC, going 9-1 and winning by an average margin of 12 points.
Caleb McConnell is the lockdown defender for the Scarlet Knights who will be matching up against Keegan Murray. McConnell leads the Big Ten in steals and is the sixth-most efficient defender in the Big Ten, according to Synergy.
Rutgers is in desperate need of a marquee victory, so we should see maximum effort from this experienced group.
With the recent struggles on the road for Iowa, I am taking Rutgers, which is a live home dog in this spot.